ICC World Cup 2019, Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Top 5 player battles - Mohammad Amir, Kusal Perera in action
After thumping tournament favourites England in their second match of the ICC World Cup 2019 tournament, Pakistan will lock horns with Sri Lanka on Friday in Bristol. Both the teams had a similar start to the tournament - they were bundled out for low totals in their opening game, but a fantastic bowling effort saw them picking up a win in their second game. ((ICC World Cup 2019: Full Coverage))
Sri Lanka’s worries lies in their batting department which has looked completely lack lustrous in the first two games and the side led by Dimuth Karunaratne would hope to put on a better front against their Asian rivals. For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir’s return to wicket-taking form signals that positive things could be on their way.
Here is a look at the five key player battles that might define the match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka:
Mohammad Amir vs Kusal Perera
Mohammad Amir showed signs of return to form in the previous World Cup game for Pakistan in the second game as he picked up two crucial wickets of Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer to set up a 14-run for his side against the hosts nation. Facing off against Sr Lanka, the seamer would hope to get rid of the dangerous opening batsman Kusal Perera, who scored 78 in the previous game against Afghanistan. Amir has replaced the frontline bowler Junaid Khan in the squad, and he has to now show that the decision made by the selectors was a correct one, by taking early wickets in the match. ((Also Read: Dhoni creates history, registers 2 massive world records))
Lasith Malinga vs Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman has grown as a cricketer in the past couple of years as an opening batsman. He became the only Pakistan batsman to score a 200+ score in the ODis last year, and helped his side in toppling India to lift the Champions Trophy in 2019. The longer he stays on the crease, the more dangerous it will be for Sri Lanka. Hence, to tackle the threat, seamer Lasith Malinga has to put his best foot forward. Malinga was the key player in taking his side to victory against Afghanistan in a close match, and he has to prove to be a hero again by taking care of the dangerous Pakistani opener.
Babar Azam vs Suranga Lakmal
Babar Azam is the in-form middle order batsman for Pakistan. The right-handed batsman scored a half century in the previous game, but could not converted it into a big score. He would be eager to get a World Cup hundred when he faces off against Sri Lanka on Friday. But on the road to glory, Azam would have to go face-to-face against Lanka seamer Suranga Lakmal. The right-armer has not been able to pick up any wickets in the tournament so far, but would be eager to change the stat in Bristol. Lakmal particularly enjoys bowling on pitches that offer pace and bounce, and Bristol pitch could offer him similar conditions. ((Also Read: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Live Score, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019))
Sarfaraz Ahmed vs Nuwan Pradeep
Pakistan captain showed signs of return to form against England as he scored 55 in 44 balls against the hosts. Several questions were raised on his contribution for the team in recent times, and he would be eager to continue in the same form against Sri Lanka. He particularly struggles against fast bowling attack and Nuwan Pradeep, who turned the tide in Sri Lanka’s favour against Afghanistan, could pose problems for the Pakistan skipper. The right-armer recorded figures of 4/31 in 9 overs, showing his ability to dismantle opposition’s middle order.
Angelo Mathews vs Shadab Khan
Angleo Mathews has not had an enjoyable tournament so far and he would be eager to get runs on the board against Sri Lanka. The right-armer was exposed by Afghanistan’s slow bowling attack in the previous game, and his struggles against spin bowling can make him susceptible to in-form Pak spinner Shadab Khan. The leggie dismissed the dangerous Jason Roy and Joe Root in the previous game and he would hope to take more important wickets in the match against Sri Lanka. The bowler would particularly enjoy going against a player who is known to struggle against slow bowling.